2 boaters rescued from St. Marys River

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NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. - Two fishermen who had reported their 17-foot boat taking on water at the entrance to the St. Marys River around 7:15 a.m. Friday were rescued by the Nassau County Sheriff's Office.

When deputies arrived, David Wood and Lewis Withrow, both of Kingsland, Ga., and retired Navy,  were clinging to the overturned boat.

The Sheriff's Office said their center console of Scout Sportfishing struck rocks that form the jetties on the Georgia side of the mouth of the river while they were fishing off Cumberland Island.

The two men were not injured and taken to St. Marys for Georgia Department of Natural Resources to investigate.

They said that with the sun in their eyes, they mistook a white marker for a red one and ran over the jetty rocks. They said the jetty was covered by about a foot of water and it was so calm, waves were not breaking on it.

"The boat was stuck on the rocks for 20-25 minutes or so," said Detective Ken Clements, of the Nassau County Marine Unit. "About the time that we got there, a wave pushed them off of the rocks and the boat flipped over and they were in the water."

Right before they fell in, the men strapped on life jackets and called for help.

"When it came off the rocks, the weight of the T-top caused it to roll over and actually be flipped upside down," Clements said. "They said they lost a lot of fishing gear, cellphones, wallets."

Another boat came over to help the men clinging to an empty cooler in about 15 feet of water. Clements also responded and the men were OK and prepared with proper equipment.

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